For “Scripture Sunday”:
The Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah, will be observed the third week of September.
Should You Keep the Festivals Jesus Observed?
“Jesus observed the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles and the other festivals that God gave to Israel. Should you follow His example? Are those sacred festivals still applicable for Christians?
Some of our readers may be surprised to learn that the United Church of God, (and the Messianic Churches), observe the same religious festivals that Jesus observed. Why would we follow His example in the matter of which days we keep?
One obvious reason is that Jesus Christ was the perfect model of how a Christian should live. Equally important is our conviction that religious practices should be founded directly on what the Bible approves. The only religious festivals commanded or approved in the Bible are the ones Jesus kept. But are these the only reasons, or is there more to this story?
Jesus Christ observed the festivals God gave to ancient Israel. Christians, of course, are expected to follow His example, to “walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6). One reason Christ observed the festivals is that they are relevant to His message, the gospel of the Kingdom of God. By observing them we can learn much about God’s plan to grant eternal life to those who become His sons and daughters through Jesus Christ. This is what gives these festivals their Christian importance and significance.
At one of these festivals a city newspaper reporter once asked me, “Why does your church observe the Feast of Tabernacles, a Jewish festival?”
I had the opportunity to explain that the occasion is not a festival for Jews alone, but for all humanity. This is one of God’s own festivals for the benefit of the human race. She later wrote an article complimenting the church for bringing a truly family-oriented convention to her city.
The Feast of Tabernacles, observed annually in September and/or October, is indeed a family festival. It has a distinct atmosphere, presenting abundant opportunities for close cooperation and communication among family members. It reflects what God is doing to create a family for Himself, His own children. He says to those called to be Christians: “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the L ORD Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18, emphasis added throughout). God seeks a family relationship and calls on us to become a part of that family!
The harvest of the children of God
The festivals of the Bible are closely linked to the harvest seasons of the Holy Land, where Jesus Christ spent His human life. Jesus often compared what God was doing through Him to a harvest. For example, Christ said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white [ripe] for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together’ ” (John 4:34-36).
Here Jesus links the idea of a harvest to His work of bringing humanity into a relationship with God that leads to eternal life. The festivals are not just memorials of what happened to ancient Israel, nor are they meaningless ritual. They were given to reveal major aspects of Jesus’ role in securing the redemption and salvation of all humanity. They are all about the work of Jesus Christ. That is why we keep them.
God’s marvelous master plan
Few realize that God has a master plan He carefully follows. His actions are not random or capricious. He formulated that plan before He created the heavens and earth. He began revealing important aspects of it with our first human parents, Adam and Eve. Let’s examine what the Bible says about that fascinating plan and how the festivals that Jesus observed reveal the order in which God’s magnificent blueprint for mankind will be accomplished.
When did God conceive His plan for creating mankind and offering us eternal life? Paul tells us that he became “a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness-a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time ” (Titus 1:1-2, New International Version).
Time, of course, is measured by the movement of the earth and the other heavenly bodies in space. Paul is telling us that before God created the universe He envisioned human beings and a way for them to receive eternal life. The salvation of mankind is not a new idea with God.
Later, when God evicted Adam and Eve from the garden paradise of Eden, after they had succumbed to the serpent’s influence and sinned, He told the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15).
In Adam’s and Eve’s presence, God revealed to Satan, “that serpent of old” (Revelation 12:9), that the time would come when a descendant of the very woman he had just deceived would crush his deceptive leadership over mankind. But first he would be allowed to strike (by crucifixion) a temporarily disabling blow to the promised Messiah.
God had a clear picture of the future. His plan included the death and resurrection of the Son of God, who was also to be the Son of Man-with God as His Father and the woman, Mary, His mother.
Is it any wonder that God began revealing more details of His plan to Moses at the time He selected ancient Israel as His special people? That was why God commanded the observance of His festivals with their dual meanings. Some of them represent truly historic events that occurred at the founding of ancient Israel as a nation. But they all represent the much more important relationship of all human beings to the mission of the Messiah (Colossians 2:16-17). That has always been their primary focus.The Feast of Trumpets
The Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah, begins the new Jewish civil year. But it is also the first day of the seventh month of the sacred calendar. It pictures the beginning of a new era, the end of the age of Satan’s influence and the beginning of the age of the Messiah. God instructed Moses that “in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation” (Leviticus 23:24).
(Rosh Hashanah is known as the Day of Judgment. At the final judgment spoken of in Revelation 20:15, we read that "anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire." The book of Revelation tells us that the Book of Life belongs to the Lamb, Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:27). The Apostle Paul maintained that the names of his fellow missionary companions were "in the Book of Life." (Philippians 4:3))
Why remember the blowing of trumpets? What relationship do trumpets have to God’s master plan and the mission of the Messiah?
The Bible reveals the significance of trumpets: The blowing of trumpets will announce the return of Jesus Christ!
“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet , and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:30-31).
Paul clarifies even more what will happen at the conclusion of the blowing of trumpets that will announce Christ’s return: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’ ” (1 Corinthians 15:51-54).
Few events-pictured here by the Feast of Trumpets-could be more significant to Christians than those that occur at the blowing of the trumpets at Christ’s return. That is when Christians, living or dead, receive immortality and eternal life.
The Festivals kept today
Jesus Christ set us an example by observing the biblical festivals, not because they were traditions of the Jewish people, but because, from the beginning, they represented His personal role in bringing the children of God into His spiritual family.
His apostles, walking in His footsteps, continued observing the same festivals. A considerable portion of Christianity observed them for centuries after His death. Looking into the future, we find a continuation of the same pattern. The prophet Zechariah tells us that attendance at the Feast of Tabernacles will be required of all peoples after Christ returns (Zechariah 14:16).
Today there are still Christians faithfully observing the same festivals Christ kept. These annual occasions were instituted to keep God’s people, in all ages, aware of the key aspects of the mission and work of the true Messiah. They are, indeed, Christian festivals.”
Complete article with list of Feasts: https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/should-you-keep-the-festivals-jesus-observed
“For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). Called and chosen for what? What is God’s calling? Are you sure you are among the called?
Can you imagine your telephone’s caller ID displaying “God calling,” when your phone rings? Of course, His calling is much more subtle than that, but it is just as real. Jesus plainly stated, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws [calls or invites] him” (John 6:44, also note verse 65). Clearly, Christ is saying that no one can come to Him; that is, no one can become a Christian unless the Father first calls that person.
Jesus’ teachings were shocking—so much so that John said many of Christ’s disciples took offense at His words and walked away for good (verse 66). God’s calling refers to the process by which the Father draws (or calls) a person. It includes God’s opening a person’s mind to understand spiritual truth, and it is literally an invitation to salvation for that individual.
There is much confusion about the meaning of salvation, so let’s simplify it. In the physical sense, salvation means being rescued, usually from death. A person pulled from a burning building has been saved from a terrible death. Similarly, spiritual salvation means being rescued or saved from eternal death. The difference is that spiritual death is a death from which there is no return, literally ceasing to exist. The saved, even if they experience physical death before Christ’s return, will be changed to spirit and live forever when He comes.
The Bible shows not everyone is called now
One of the passages in the Bible that clearly explains that God is not calling everyone to salvation at this time is Christ’s parable of the sower. “Behold, a sower [a farmer] went out to sow [plant seed]. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.
“Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear [who can understand] let him hear!” (Matthew 13:3-9).
Do you know what Jesus meant?
Jesus explains the parable
In the parable, a story with a spiritual lesson, a farmer planting seed is likened to the work done by Jesus Christ and His Church. The seed is the gospel of the Kingdom. Notice how Jesus explained it: “Therefore hear [understand] the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
“But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:18-23, emphasis added throughout).
“God calling” for the people in the story means the Father opens their minds so they can understand the good news of the Kingdom of God. This knowledge of the Kingdom includes knowing the King of this Kingdom (Jesus Christ), its territory (this earth), its constitution (the law of God) and its citizens (those over whom Christ and the saints rule on the earth). For further study, see the section on the “Kingdom of God.”
“Many are called, but few are chosen”
Not everyone who heard this parable [teaching] understood what Jesus was talking about. Although the entire multitude heard the same words, different reactions were taking place in those who heard the message. Some did not “hear” the call. Some did hear, but chose not to respond to the call.
The seed only grows in those God the Father is calling and who choose to follow His way of life. It is important to note that within the context of God’s plan of salvation for humankind, He is not opening everyone’s mind to the truth at the same time. Jesus had to explain this fact to His disciples, and He does so in the context of this parable of the sower (Matthew 13:11-17).
Another biblical example helps explain the fact that some are called ahead of most of mankind.
This is critically important
Another example of God calling only some during this age is found in the book of Acts. At the conclusion of Peter’s powerful sermon on the Feast of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given, many who heard him were sorrowful and repentant, realizing that their sins required the death—the sacrifice—of Christ. Notice their response; “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart [they were repentant] and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’” (Acts 2:37).
This is critically important: Real repentance requires the person to act on the knowledge he or she has received. Conversion is much more than an emotional reaction.
Real repentance requires the person to act on the knowledge he or she has received. Conversion is much more than an emotional reaction. Peter responded, “Repent [turn your life around], and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission [forgiveness] of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (verses 38-39).
Notice the phrase “as many as the Lord our God will call.” Did everyone who heard the call positively respond that day by repenting and being baptized? No. “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized” (verse 41). To be sure, God added about 3,000 people to His Church that day; but even so, many others who heard the call chose not to respond.”
Complete article at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/change/christian-conversion/god-calling/
Jay has been here a few times to help me as he needed cigarette money. He feels that he has to spend nearly $7 for a PACK of cigarettes, just to go up in smoke. No wonder he is always broke. We used to pay $1.80 a CARTON at the base commissary! I am so glad that I am not a slave to that anymore. It’s been three years and nine months since I quit my 60 year fag habit. (The word "fag" is a British term, used to describe a tobacco cigarette.) I didn’t smoke those expensive cigarettes, just the little cigars, but I still have saved a lot of money, and thankfully my oxygen is up now and I don’t have COPD.
He mowed my grass that had become really tall during all that rain. We raked up more pine needles and burned them. We moved a great big metal wide filing cabinet out of the mini-house carport up three steps into the new tool room, the old store room. Now there are two of those 40” wide, and five legal size drawers in the tool room. We had to remove the drawers to be able to move it, even with my big appliance dolly. With the big filing cabinet moved and a humongous BBQ that I sold, that left a lot of space in the mini-house carport. Now to just get the rest of the stuff sold.
Another morning, we cleaned up my front porch siding, tables and chairs and washed the fence. It looks so much better.
I went down to Roni’s place (now mine) and then my van wouldn’t start. I had had trouble turning the key all the way to make it connect, but this time it just wouldn’t go. So I called the Emergency Road Service and they towed it up here. A few days later Chris came over so that we could try to start it and get it into Conroe to the repair shop, but I couldn’t start it, but she did due to the ‘special words’ that she prayed over it. The prognosis is that I need a new starter and radiator, which this day and age cost a lot, they said $650. On Monday, Gary an elder from the church, is going to do some checking around.
My four little foster kittens had an outing, as they had had their second batch of shots they could safely go out into the big world. Chris, my SPCA foster mom neighbor, took them to Petco for Adoption Day on Saturday afternoon. They were a big hit, but no applications came in for them. They are so cute, friendly, playful, pretty and handsome that I have no doubt that they will be adopted soon after their neutering surgeries.
My daughter, Wendy, has been volunteering down in Brazoria, helping people she doesn’t even know, get their homes cleaned up after the floods. She felt that it was just something that she had to do. She has been helping tear out soggy sheetrock and carpet. They thanked her, but she thanked them for letting her do it. She used to live down in West Colombia, so she knows a lot of folks who had at least 4 feet of water in their homes. She and her two daughters came and helped me when I had over 4 feet of water in my new house in the flood of October of 1994. That’s when I bought on top of this hill!
With my van in the shop, Hans my neighbor, took Jay and me to church with my big insulated food bag containing food for the potluck, and the bag of peelings and scraps that I collect for Gary’s chickens. Hans was going to an ice cream social so he couldn’t pick us up. But Gary, his wife and daughter to the rescue once again as they brought us and our food bag back home.
Someone gave me an enormous cabbage, now what was I going to do with that? I made buttered sautéed cabbage with carrots, and took it in a crockpot to the church pot luck. Then I made a big glass bowl of Waldorf Slaw, and took it too, but I still have some cabbage left over.
The Bible readings were Deut. 3:23-7:11, (now that includes The Commandments in Deut. 5:6-21), Isa. 40:1-40 and Mark 12:28-34. One of the songs that we sang was from Psalm 48. With ‘The Feast of Trumpets’ nearly upon us the Teaching was about celebrating the Holy Days as Jesus did, and how Jerusalem is no longer the place of desolation that Mark Twain described in his day.